A few years ago, I walked into my son Rami’s room late at night and caught him and my husband, Hisham, having an adorable father-son moment. Hisham had gotten into bed with Rami to help him to fall asleep and had nodded off himself in the process. When I walked in, Rami’s legs were tangled around Hisham’s head like it was a soccer ball. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo!
Every Father’s Day, when I think about the kind of dad Hisham is, I look back on that moment. Hisham is a master at handling the dilemma I talked about in last month’s article on Mother’s Day: He always puts the kids first and is open to receiving love from them in any way they want to give it. Sometimes that means putting Rami to bed and staying with him to help him feel safe, even when he would rather be making a late-night trip to the gym. Other times, it means playing Barbies with our daughter even though he grew up in a household of boys and is a bit of a macho man. When it comes to giving the kids what they need and want, he’s there!
That goes doubly for Father’s Day. Just like on Mother’s Day, we have to set our egos aside as parents and celebrate each other the way the kids want us to. That usually means I help them make Hisham breakfast, then they make him a piece of art as a gift and we go to a place they love, like putt-putt golf or the park. We usually wrap up the day with a family dinner that includes the grandfathers, too. It might not be the exact day Hisham would have chosen, but he’s open to all of the cuddles and crazy ideas our kids have for him.
One thing I really love about Hisham is that he’s very intentional when it comes to raising our children. He doesn’t coddle them, but he makes sure that they have the support they need even as we challenge them to learn and grow. It impresses me that he constantly questions his behavior patterns to make sure he’s being the best father possible. With every action he takes, Hisham sets our kids up to think and live on their own one day and be confident in themselves.
As parents, we agree that our role isn’t to give Rami, Hanna, and Amir everything they want in life. It’s to make them the superstars and encourage them to express themselves. Fatherhood for Hisham is all about the big picture rather than the daily worries. When I get stressed and overwhelmed, he’s there to pitch in and calmly take things off my plate.
Like Mother’s Day, I know Father’s Day can be more challenging without a partner to do that work of corralling the kids or stepping in to help when you need it. If you’re a single dad, then know that all of the advice that I gave to moms in last month’s newsletter applies to you, too! Try to use the day as an opportunity to teach your kids how to give and receive love, but make sure you find time for yourself as well.
If you’re in the middle of a custody battle or divorce on Father’s Day, try not to stress about ensuring that everything is perfect. It’s okay if this holiday looks a bit different. You can celebrate with your kids on another day if you need to, or find a creative solution to planning an outing without a partner’s help. Maybe you can include your father in the events and make the day about highlighting him. Whatever you decide, remember that as long as you’re putting your kids first, you’re doing the best you can.
From myself and Hisham, happy Father’s Day!